People made their way to Top School where we congregated to meet boys we hadn’t met in 48-50 years in some cases. Some we recognised others we didn’t, but an awful lot of memories began floating around from group to group; CCF, old swimming pool, sports events, telly in the Hall. Some we recalled others not a clue. Such is the way of things.
After a good gab fest, we made our way into chapel for the service. There were at least 50 Old Boys and families taking part. The Revd Nick Seward (headmaster) conducted the service, which combined a communion service for those who wanted to partake. Three rousing hymns were chosen and sang with gusto. They were; ‘I vow to thee my Country’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’.
We then made our way down to the dining hall for our reunion dinner. John had arranged seating plans which mostly kept to our old houses, which was very pleasant. Lots more memories were talked about. The meal was brought to us, rather than having to queue, and this gave much longer to talk.
Many photos were taken in the hall and I’m sure a selection will be made available on KHSD shortly. Others will have been taken at other times as well, and one of the benefits of it being an exeat day was that we could do so in a much more relaxed manner than if pupils had been around.
After dinner most of us made our ways to our respective houses and some of us hadn’t revisited them in well over 40 years. I, being a Bradfordian went with the other Bradford lads. I was apprehensive about what I would find and how I would feel about the upgrading. ‘Welcome to former pupils & staff of Bradford House’ met us just inside the main door on the dry marker board. A very nice touch. Next we were met by a collection of old Bradford House photos. 1962 was eagerly pounced on by me, Tim Hildesley and Joe Bumford, recognising most of the lads on the photo. We were given a tour of the house by Graham and Bev Lane, the current incumbents. We compared the old with the new and on the whole we were rather envious of the new. I believe we left Bradford then knowing it was in good hands.
It was now time to head up to the Top School to the main hall where we were to be entertained by Mark Mitchells. First though we were addressed by Nick Seward, who outlined the need for the new Centre. Simon Howlett then talked briefly about the KHSD website and how easy it is to use, and that he is fully prepared to give assistance if needed.
Mark then gave a witty, nostalgic and thoroughly enjoyable account of the path that led him to the stage where he was now addressing us. His first steps to going on stage, teaching and directing, parents evening and cruise talks. An excellent end to the formal parts of the day.
We then enjoyed more time for chats and cheerios, everyone saying how well the day had gone, and all hoping it could be repeated.
Some of us then went to Kingham churchyard to Teddie’s grave where Tony Middleton planted light and dark blue heathers, by the headstone. A picture is already in the picture archive showing it. A poignant and fitting end to a marvellous reunion.
We sincerely hope that people will keep in touch with each other now, and hope that this will become a permanent fixture in the Kingham Hill calendar
Way back in 1981 I decided, as a Father’s Day surprise for my father, Bow (K,R,Bowman- housemaster of Clyde 1948-’57) to try and organise a mini-Clyde Reunion lunch at our home in Southampton. I can still remember the looks of incredulity on his and my mother’s faces as they came into the room- exclaiming over each of the six assembled ‘boys’ there! And that’s how it all began!
Initially I could only track down those six but a few years later I had a list of 30 (31 counting Stewart Brindley- our House tutor)in the UK and abroad -and we actually entertained thirteen one year. In those early years we sometimes ate and chatted out in the garden but my plantaholic-but long-suffering husband has now made it all but impossible for one person to find the space to sit outside-let alone a group- so we are always inside, regardless of the weather.
Sadly 5 of those original 13 have since died- and, with my husband’s failing health I have had to reduce the numbers coming here-but I still invite nine and try to find a date to suit everyone. With the inevitable increase in our ages the distances become more difficult-which is in part why we all decided to gravitate to The Hill on 26th.September 2010 to Schooldays Reunion lunch-(the only absentee, Alastair Ball, being in Spain!)
It was great to see the lovely place looking as beautiful as ever (externally anyway!) and to evoke so many happy memories of more than half a century ago. Where have all those years gone; they certainly melt away when we get together!
I had always hoped to be married in the school chapel- by John Woollan, ’our’ Warden , but the chapel had no licence-and he was busy on the date with his own parish duties!
It was good to have a short service in the chapel, though I missed Stewart Brindley’s boy trebles –the trademark sound of earlier years- and was surprised to have to read the words from the front wall!
Then it was on to the excellent lunch in the dining-hall, followed by a tour of our old home- and Clyde was a family home to all of us- so familiar outside-but totally changed inside! My bedroom and our bathroom are now a three bedded unit- as is the old linen room, and our kitchen and lovely large living room have also been absorbed into boys’ accommodation.
I was saddened to see how dark it is inside with the various partitions and the bed units obscuring the light.
It was Clyde – but it was not Clyde- or not the Clyde we knew and loved.
We then wandered back up to the hall through a rather raw, cold afternoon for the speeches-where I was surprised to be given a pretty little miniature rose by John-though I hardly needed a gift for coming on a happy trip down Memory Lane with a group of dear friends!
Elizabeth Fuller, daughter of K R Bowman, Clyde Housemaster 1948-1957